Students at the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) now have an easy way to practice healthy eating habits and support local businesses. The campus recently announced a weekly Gaucho Certified Farmers Market that features area vendors selling fresh fruit, vegetables, flowers and more year-round.
Fresh beets and recipe samples at the Gaucho Certified Farmers Market — Photo courtesy of Gaucho Certified Farmers Market
Vendors at the Gaucho Certified Farmers Market include Tutti Frutti Farms, Elwood Canyon Farms and many others. Westwood Floral brings fresh flowers to the market each week, perfect for sprucing up dorm rooms and offices or as a midweek surprise for that special someone.
In addition to fresh produce and flowers, several stands offer prepared foods that have been produced in the tri-county area (including San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura). Sweet Lady Cook offers jams and jellies that have been made from local fruits. Try a jar of sweet Concord grape jelly or tangy marmalade – great for lunch or as a memorable hostess gift!
Healthy eating and healthy living go hand in hand, as is recognized by the mission statement of the Gaucho Certified Farmers Market:
"The Gaucho Certified Farmers Market is an avenue for staff, students, faculty and the local community to access fresh, locally grown produce and artisan goods. We will bring together all facets of sustainability, helping to educate the UCSB community on healthy eating and living."
Classes and workshops that promote sustainable living and healthy ideals take place during the market each week. Follow the Gaucho Certified Farmers Market on Facebook to see what’s coming up. You might catch a fermentation demonstration or learn about a bicycle that can blend smoothies.
As the market settles in and hits its stride, shoppers can expect to look forward to food trucks, live music and new vendors, as well as a bustling crowd. UCSB has over 20,000 students and around 10,000 employees, not to mention the population of Isla Vista – a neighboring community with no farmers market of its own.
The Gaucho Certified Farmers Market takes place every Wednesday, rain or shine, in parking lot #23 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The market is open to all, not just university students and employees. So saunter in to stock up or pick up a few things for an impromptu picnic.
And don’t forget to bring your reusable bags! A student-run bag campaign at the market encourages shoppers to donate unwanted reusable bags to share with people who may have forgotten theirs. It’s a great way to make sure that every bag gets its optimum use.